The 17th -18th century was an exciting time for Europe. This period saw the creation of new nations, radical new ideas on human relations and government, and the development of new technology.
It also saw the birth of new religions, political revolutions and a re-invention of old traditions. Europeans learned to think in new ways, and they created a wealth of art and culture.
The Renaissance, which means “rebirth,” began in Italy and spread throughout Europe. Its artists, philosophers and scientists produced some of the greatest works of art ever created, and the period became known as a time of innovation in culture and learning.
The period was a time when classical learning, including Greek and Roman history, was rediscovered. It also led to the development of new technologies, such as the movable-type printing press.
It also brought a new focus on scientific achievement. For instance, artists like Leonardo da Vinci incorporated scientific principles into their work so they could recreate the human body with extraordinary precision. Other scientists like Galileo and Copernicus embraced a new view of astronomy that changed the way people thought about the universe.
The Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation, which began 500 years ago this week, changed the history of Western Europe forever. It reestablished the Bible’s teaching that eternal salvation was secured by personal faith in Christ, not works.
It also rejected many of the Catholic Church’s devotional practices, such as pilgrimages and indulgences. It also reduced the number of sacraments.
Among the most prominent leaders of the Protestant movement were Martin Luther (1483-1546) in Germany, Huldrych Zwingli (l. 1484-1531) in Switzerland, and John Knox (1513-1572) in Scotland. These leaders advocated a simple and honest approach to religion and challenged the authority of the pope.
The Transformation of Marriage
Over the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the age at which men and women got married changed dramatically. This was the result of a dramatic economic crisis in Europe, which compelled people to postpone marriage while they were still establishing themselves as independent adults.
The change in the age at which couples got married is just one part of a more significant transformation of family composition. This change was driven by socialization to an ever-increasing degree outside the family, declining authority of family patriarchs, and a rise in individual paid labor.
The Catholic Church’s Calendar
The Catholic Church has a calendar that focuses on the life of Jesus, from his birth in Advent to his death in Lent, his Resurrection at Easter and his Ascension into heaven. The Church also sets aside days and seasons to celebrate the lives of saints.
The seven main liturgical seasons in the Church are Advent, Christmastide, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide and Ordinary Time (the longest season). Some liturgical traditions observe slightly different times.
Some observances are mandatory, while others are optional. These include feasts for particular saints, times of fasting and other intervals of specific acts of religious observance such as Lent.
Conventional Family Arrangements
The traditional family is a group of people who are related by blood or marriage. They consist of a husband, wife, and children.
During the 17th -18th century, conventional family arrangements were common across Western Europe. During this time, men and women often got married at a later age than they did before.
In some societies, family ties are traced to either the father’s or mother’s line. Other families follow ambilineal descent, whereby parents choose which kinship line they want their children to follow.